Crystalla Gonzalez is one of the most impactful people I met in my New York City tenure. I saw her band LTrain in Brooklyn on a whim and was inspired by the band’s energy. In addition to having a fantastic live show, Crystalla has one of those voices that is tough, soft and soulful.
How is LTrains pledgemusic campaign going? Do you wanna take a minute to tell us about Viral Spiral, why people should donate, and what they should expect from the record?
LTrain’s pledgemusic campaign is going okay so far. We need help to spread the word as much as possible. Sharing links and any donation, we will be extremely grateful.
Viral Spiral is an emotional raw album that we all equally wrote together. The chemistry we have on this album is something that I am proud of. I’ve never been more comfortable than I am now than with this line up and so, I’ve been able to express myself in ways I haven’t before.
Songwriting for this album has been therapeutic for me. I express the disappointments of growing up. I’ve seen so many of my friends grow up and toss their dreams aside to only find themselves unhappy. It’s frustrating when people tell you you’re crazy for following your dreams or that you’re too old to pursue them.
This album is about being yourself and not caring about what others say no matter what. Honestly that’s probably one of the most difficult things about being a musician. Not everyone will understand your dream as an artist and that’s why I feel blessed being in band with three other musicians that share the same dream.
What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to crowdfunding? What would you tell other musicians who are considering using this tool to cover their costs?
The biggest challenge when it comes to crowdfunding is the time and effort that goes into it. It can be difficult at times when you are working a full-time job to also promote your band at the same time. Having time to promote is key. Having other kinds of content to promote your album like pictures or videos will help keep your fans interested.
I would recommend crowdfunding to bands only if they’re willing to put in the effort and time it takes to promote it.
As a major focus of Safer Scene’s is to raise awareness about discrimination in the music scene, have you experienced or witnessed sexism in your scene?
I have experienced a lot of sexism within my scene. I’m sure many other female musicians have always entered a venue or bar about to perform and get the, “Are you with the band or are you someone’s girlfriend in the band?” I won’t forget the times I was held outside till someone had to confirm I was in the band.
Another form of discrimination I have experienced has been recently through our YouTube videos. We have been covering a lot of songs that are done by men and the backlash I get with doing them is incredible. I have had comments like “Kurt Cobain did not move like a stripper..” on a Nirvana cover we did.
The sexism doesn’t stop because when I covered No Doubt’s song, the comments were opposite from the Nirvana cover, but now talking about how beautiful I am and about my body. There are even guys fighting over “who’s mine”. It’s pretty bizarre how social media is nowadays.
Do you think there is anything in particular that can help create a safer and more inclusive music scene in general?
I think that we should all meet regularly and have events to talk about these issues and spread awareness of sexism within music. The power of social media is we can use our voices, and if we are victims, we can share our story. So many women are scared to share their story thinking they are alone. Sharing stories will make others want to speak up.
What advice would you give to women who want to become a musician or start a band?
The advice I would give to women who want to become a musician or start a band is to never think that you can’t express yourself a certain way because you are a woman.
Don’t let any trolling comments get in the way of what you love to do. I’ve had men tell me “I’m not rock enough” or “I’m too musical theater to be doing rock music”. If you love what you are doing, fully express yourself the way you want to and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Are there any female alternative/rock artists you look up to in particular, and why?
One artist I look up to is Kathleen Hanna. Her band Bikini Kill talked about issues that made people feel uncomfortable with topics such as rape and the struggle of gender equality. She didn’t care about what people thought of her and she spoke up for many women who felt they didn’t have a voice. I hope I get to meet her one day.
How have you changed personally, since starting a band? What have you learned from the experience?
Since I have started the band, I have gained confidence to be comfortable in my own skin. When we first started as a band, I wasn’t sure about how I even wanted to express myself. I started the band after a frustration I had with musical theater.
From acting as different characters, I felt like I was losing myself and through performing in the band, I was starting to find myself again. I started to dress differently along with finding my musical style along with gaining confidence in my songwriting. I think I changed along with the progression of our music over the last five years.